Ireland, an island very close to England and not far from France, was, from 900 BC, a favorite destination for many Celtic adventurers who, when they arrived, subjected the natives and organized themselves into tribes. Each tribe had its leader and all the leaders always fought among themselves for supremacy.
In the midst of this bloody period, the man who transformed the life of the island landed in Ireland and prepared its future destiny: Saint Patrick. Son of a Roman citizen, but born in Bonavenna in England, around the year 389 after Christ, he was ordained a priest in France and sent to Ireland in 432. His work was immense: he converted the populations, ordered priests, built churches, founded monasteries. See Countryaah for population and country facts about Ireland. He liked the Irish very much because he possessed their own qualities of rudeness and determination. When he died in 461, he had given Ireland the indelible mark of Christianity.
The Irish are predominantly of Celtic descent. Irish is the first official language, but only around 2% of the population speak it as their mother tongue. However, 33% are proficient in Irish. The Irish-speaking residents live mainly in the west and north of the Republic of Ireland. These areas are also known as Gaeltacht.
In the middle of the 19th century Ireland still had 6.5 million residents, in 2000 it was 3.8 million. Bad living conditions, including the Great Famine from 1845 to 1849, led to continued emigration.By 1961 the population had fallen to 2.82 million (in the Republic of Ireland). State-sponsored industrialization brought about a temporary decline in emigration between 1971 and 1979. Combined with strong natural population growth, the population increased temporarily by 15.3% until 1981. Subsequently, however, the deterioration in economic conditions and the high unemployment rate again led to the emigration of many people. Only a significant improvement in the economic situation and a reduction in the high unemployment rate have been able to stop the wave of emigration since 1991.
The population density is highest in the east, around the capital Dublin, and drops significantly to the west. More than a quarter of the total population lives in the urban agglomeration of Dublin. The country’s second largest city is Cork, followed by Limerick and Galway.
Over 90% of the population belong to the Catholic Church, which until 1972 had a special status anchored in the constitution. Around 2.7% belong to the Anglican Church of Ireland, just under 1% to other Protestant communities. The Catholicism has great influence on the political, social and cultural life of Ireland.
Even with the religious principles of Christianity, the period of struggle and anarchy that followed could not be avoided. Towards the first years of the 9th century, Scandinavian navigators and adventurers, from Norway and Denmark, landed on the island, settled along the coasts, then went inland and also founded some cities, including Dublin, which wants to say Dubb Linn ie black tin.
The Irish kings, as well as fighting each other, had to engage in long and bloody struggles against the Scandinavians, who eventually had to leave the island. It was the year 1014.
But the warlike instincts of the Irish had not yet died down. Two factions were formed that prompted the king of England and France, Henry II, to land in Ireland in 1170 with an army of 4000 men. He occupied the whole country and then divided the lands among his barons. Thus began the long English occupation. Which was always contested also because the British had converted to Protestantism while the Irish were irreducibly Catholic. Especially in the 1500s and 1600s there were very hard struggles and in the early 1600s England began to expropriate the lands from the Irish tribes, who made their land the only reason for living. And these lands were entrusted to the English colonists and also to those who proved faithful to the British.
In the 1700s, extremely harsh laws were passed against Catholics, but even these never succeeded in bending the pride of the Irish people.
It came to 1800, the “classic” period of independence of various states of the world, as a consequence of the principles of the French Revolution. Ireland also worked for freedom. Secret societies were founded, financed by the many Irish people who had been forced to emigrate, especially to the United States.
Also in 1800 the Irish Parliament was abolished, so much so that the Irish parliamentarians, militants in the English Parliament, were forced to fight for their aspirations precisely on the ground of the oppressor. And their struggle was so passionate that at some point the British parliamentarians themselves were forced to admit the legitimacy of the requests for freedom made by that proud people.
And for many years this struggle continued in Parliament while “on the spot” secret societies carried out terrorist acts, attacking barracks, carrying out attacks, and in short preparing to support a ruthless war to the end.
And on April 24, 1916, on the eve of Easter, a riot broke out in Dublin. For 5 days they fought in the streets, in the squares; English artillery had to intervene, while from the sea the gunboat “Helga” bombed the buildings occupied by the insurgents. Whole neighborhoods were devastated, hundreds died and the British eventually managed to quell the rebellion and 9 Irish leaders were shot. The main culprit, Sir Roger Casement, was hanged on August 3.
Four years of violent struggles, attacks followed, and in the end the British government had to yield. In 1920 the British Parliament granted what was called the “Home rule” (autonomy), dividing the country into two parts: Northern Ireland, Ulster, mostly Protestant, and Southern Ireland, Eire, to Catholic majority.
And while Northern Ireland, inhabited mainly by British immigrants, immediately accepted this decision, Southern Ireland did not recognize the law. However, an agreement was reached on December 6, 1921 and Southern Ireland, under the name of “Irish Free State”, assumed the status of “Dominion”.
Since then, ties with the British Crown have gradually loosened until the Irish Republic was proclaimed in 1948, whose leader in 1959 was E. de Valera.
In the 60s the economic situation was good especially for the skill of the head of the Lemass government, who always carried out his business in order to be able to enter a large international circuit. Numerous and substantial were the foreign investments, in particular the American, English and German ones.